Maine: House passes bill to require agriculture department to test marijuana for safety

The Maine House overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday that would require the state’s Department of Agriculture to set up testing facilities so it could test marijuana for safety before it is sold for recreational use.

The bill faces further votes in both the House and Senate, and will likely face the scrutiny of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has urged lawmakers to put the regulation of marijuana wholly in the hands of the state’s Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, which oversees the state’s wholesale liquor business and its lottery games.


Baby Boomers Taking up Pot Again May Be Surprised How Much It's Changed

With both medical and recreational marijuana use now legal in Maine, today’s growers are combining green thumbs with advanced chemistry to produce varieties to treat everything from anxiety to pain.

But things have changed a bit since the days when marijuana was an illicit drug sold on the black market — including the potency of today’s marijuana.

“Back when I was a teenager I’d smoke a little bit on and off,” the 67-year-old said. “I joined the Air Force in 1969 and did not smoke much after that for many years until I got my medical marijuana card six years ago.”


Maine: Lawmakers give initial approval to marijuana regulatory bill

The Legislature has given preliminary approval and may soon send to Gov. Paul LePage a bill that funds and designates the agency that will administer recreational marijuana sales in Maine, approved by voters at referendum in November.

The bill gives the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations the authority to oversee recreational marijuana use. That’s a change from the measure approved by voters, which would have given regulatory authority to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.


Maine: City and town leaders grapple with how to regulate recreational marijuana

Across Maine, the knowledge that the sale of recreational marijuana will eventually be legal has many towns and cities bracing for the change.

It’s a daunting task for the local officials who are considering the potential effects of legalization, from the odors that could waft off of growing facilities, to the burden those facilities could place on water and electric systems, to the impaired drivers that could hit the road.


Lobbyists Lining up to Influence Marijuana Laws in Maine

More than $140,000 has already been spent in the state as stakeholders seek a voice in how lawmakers regulate the lucrative recreational industry.

Retail sales of marijuana may still be a year away, but cannabis-related cash is already flowing at the Maine State House as businesses jockey to influence the policies that will govern the lucrative recreational market.

Between Dec. 1 and March 31, clients paid lobbyists more than $140,000 for representation on marijuana-related issues in Augusta even though lawmakers have only taken up a handful of the roughly 50 bills connected to the drug.


Medical Marijuana Providers Seek First Chance at Retail Sales in Maine

Other states have let some sell early while rules for new stores are created, but who would qualify is debatable.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and caregivers are quietly lobbying state lawmakers to allow them to sell pot to recreational users before retail cannabis stores open in Maine next year.


American High: State-by-State Guide to Legal Pot

While Congress has largely refused to roll back, or even debate, the federal prohibition on pot, local voters across the U.S. have cast ballots to end the war on marijuana. But the nation's patchwork of pot laws can be confusing – even in the states where it's allowed – so here's a blueprint of what you can and can't do in the eight states (plus D.C.) where weed's been legalized for recreational use.


Cashing in on Cannabis: How New Freedoms Began a Green Gold Rush in the United States

Like many states, Illinois is in deep financial trouble. Looking at the latest audit,  its black hole has deepened to $9.6bn (£7.6bn) and, according to the state’s financial comptroller, the books are “abysmal”.

But there could be salvation at hand if it becomes the first state in the midwest to legalise and tax the recreational use of marijuana. Two Democrats in the state legislature have introduced a bill to change the law, arguing this could raise as much as $700m a year.

Should the bill go through, it would bring the number of states where recreational pot is legal up to nine. If you throw in Washington DC, then more than 80m Americans would be free to enjoy cannabis.


Kidney patient taken off transplant list for using medical marijuana

A kidney patient in Maine has been taken off a transplant wait list for using medical marijuana.

State lawmakers are now considering a bill that would prohibit Maine hospitals from doing that, even though one local hospital says there are medical reasons to disqualify patients who use pot.

Garry Godfrey has Alport Syndrome, a hereditary disease which causes renal failure at a young age. He says it also causes debilitating pain, nausea and anxiety.

"I've tried so many pharmaceuticals and none of them worked, but the medical cannabis does,” Godfrey said. “It helps me function. It helps me take care of my kids."

Godfrey says he needs a new kidney and was put on Maine Medical Center's transplant list in 2003. In 2010 Maine Med adopted a new policy.


Maine: Houlton rolls out welcome mat for marijuana businesses

With a 5-0 vote at their Feb. 21 meeting, town councilors approved moving forward with an ordinance aimed at welcoming entrepreneurs interested in growing and selling marijuana for recreational use.

“This town has been struggling for years,” Councilor Sue Waite-York said. “We’re not in a position to let this opportunity slip by.”


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